Residents blast UTA over plans to end free-fare zone for buses

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  • dalefarr South Jordan, Utah
    June 15, 2012 8:46 a.m.

    Because, the UTA is so heavily subsidized by tax revenues and gov't grants, all bus fares should be -0-. Bus routes could then be planned for the riders who use them. Empty busses would no longer exist. Lastly, the UTA executive compensation should be reduced so that it compares with other local governmentail entities. Taxpayers cannot afford the current system.

  • innocent bystander SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    June 14, 2012 1:36 a.m.

    Must be a 100 year recession, as UTA wants out of 100 year contract.

    Free fare helps business. People can pop out of work to do errands, shop, or eat, without getting their car out of parking, and back--a worsening hassle and cost. No one is going to pay bus fares or parking to do those quick trips to browse or eat when it makes the lunch more expensive than something easier and close. Old folks who can't drive safely or carry groceries a couple blocks might be forced to order by internet. So much for buy local and pay sales tax.

    Take a look at the businesses on State beyond 400 South. Free fare so people don't have to walk through blight to get to a destination might bring up the whole area and sales tax as well.

    Some of these awful people who act like the elderly and disabled who fought the wars and built the city should not get a break may find the life they save by giving unsafe drivers a free fare is there own. Old or disabled folks who aren't safe drivers might run over some of these people who have such

  • mornixuur Layton, UT
    June 13, 2012 3:45 p.m.

    One thing here which most people are missing is that this is not a matter of "oh the poor people are ripping me off!"

    UTA and SLC entered into an agreement a couple of decades ago in which UTA agreed to operate the free-fare zone for 100 years in recompense for the disproportional share of street wear and traffic woes SLC endured when nearly every single bus route hubbed out of the downtown area. Now UTA is trying to weasel out of their agreement.

    UTA's issues seem to stem from two areas: Cost, and fare enforcement.

    They claim they're losing $192k annually. However, they have the highest paid executive and board members of any transit system in the country. UTA's counterpart in liberal LA, pays its head half the money to run a transit system 10 times as large. I'm sure UTA could trip executive salaries enough to make up $192k.

    Fare enforcement is easy. The free fare zone bus could be a dedicated shuttle line, circulating and never leaving the zone. All other lines get paid for.

    Easy, saves money, and no more whining from UTA.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    June 13, 2012 2:56 p.m.

    It goes hand-in-hand with Salt Lake City's plan to increase parking meter hours and fees.

  • Dutchman Murray, UT
    June 13, 2012 1:45 p.m.


    Correction, the entire state does not pay taxes to UTA only those entities receiving UTA service pay a portion of local sales tax to UTA. It was a mistake for the public to vote to allow UTA to be a low fare service without identifying specifically what a low fare operation is and how high fares can be raised. Now, UTA is free to raise fares whenever they want. For those opposed to free fares allow me to point out that it is not free. Sales taxes are paying for the service where ever UTA goes and even the poorest among us pay sales taxes.

  • Chris from Rose Park PROVO, UT
    June 13, 2012 1:19 p.m.

    From the article someone called the proposal, "an attack on working and poor people." That sounds ridiculous. I very highly doubt the leaders of UTA were sitting in their office plotting an attack to undercut the working and poor. More likely they were thinking of ways to save money, found this way, and proposed it to save taxpayer money. This sounds like the man is trying to put new motives behind UTA's actions so the working and poor will feel threatened.

    Another quote from the other side is, "Fare disputes sometimes lead to assaults on drivers, he said. 'I'm concerned about the safety of our operators.' " If assaults are really happening, it's a problem. But in the 8 years I rode buses every M-F between the west side and downtown there was never an assault on the driver. Arguments and tension: yes; violence or threats: no. The fear sounds contrived in order to mask that it's just a business decision.

    I wish things could be more straight forward. UTA should say they want to save money. The opposition should acknowledge saving money is good and perhaps propose another way to do so.

  • Mukkake Salt Lake City, UT
    June 13, 2012 12:29 p.m.

    I hope they do end the Free Fare Zone. It'll get the homeless off the downtown buses. I even wish they would remove it from the TRAX, as well.

    Really, the free fare zone is already so small that the only people really benefiting are the homeless and/or drunks. Few people live within the free fare zone, anyway, and those that do usually aren't too badly off.

  • Dutchman Murray, UT
    June 13, 2012 11:34 a.m.

    A gross mistake was made years ago when UTA was first established. A ballot measure was put forward to create UTA as either a free fare service or a low fare service. The voters voted for a low fare service and UTA has been raising fares ever since and trying to get rid of any semblance of free fares or even low fares. And UTA's fare collections have not stopped them from requesting local tax increases to run their operations. The late State Legislator Sam Taylor was a great advocate for free fate mass transit but since his death UTA has pretty much had its way.

  • Sandy Salt Lake City, UT
    June 13, 2012 10:50 a.m.

    Not just the poor are benefitting from free fares. Shoppers and workers use trax to go short distances downtown. It's a cool program.

    Some people get their first intro to public transportation that way. Surely there must be a win/win option here. Think creatively. Can poor people get a limited use pass? Can stores give validations for short rides to shoppers as they do for parking? Can businesses provide the same for their workers to do business? How to preserve the advantages of the free fare zone and avoid the abuses?

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    June 13, 2012 8:25 a.m.

    Only the homeless and poor that live in SLC should be given free rides for six whole city blocks? Does that make sense to anyone?

    If you are homeless and capable of moving. Then the six blocks that you can ride for free is not going to do you any good. If you're hurting for money that you can't pay less than $1 to ride, then a mile walk is not going to kill you. I walk more than that each day in the city.

    If you're that sick or elderly that you can't function within the six blocks of the free fare zone, then you should really be looking at long term disability or seeking other help; rather than trying to get by saving a buck a day. You're problems are much more severe than having to pay your fair fare share would cause you.

    I'm sorry, but, we can no longer afford to pay your way through life. It's not heartless, it's just the truth. We're just as broke as you are, except our necks are on the line to repay all of the debt.

  • DEW Sandy, UT
    June 13, 2012 6:27 a.m.

    If they want to continue free zone on trax then that should be fine. Discontinue this free zone on buses becasue a lot of people doesn't obey. Go ahead and do that. Plain and simple and people will know it from City Center to Court House and no more after that on trax!

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 13, 2012 5:48 a.m.

    Yup. People always love "free stuff."

    Trouble is that someone, somewhere, somehow has to pay for that "free stuff" other people are so hapopy to receive.

    Taxpayers already heavily subsidize UTA. How much have I paid for that over theyears, even though I have NEVER set foot on UTA property or inside a UTA bus or train? Why should I keep paying, let alone pay even more so other people can enjoy "free stuff?"

    All these socially conscious types who want to keep free bus rides need to sit down and start their own "Free Stuff & Bus Coompany" and give free bus service. Just don't make me pay for it. YOU pick up the tab since you want to provide it.

    As British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher stated "Socialism is great until you run out of other people's money to spend." Well, you are already spending too much of other people's money.

  • My2Cents Taylorsville, UT
    June 13, 2012 3:58 a.m.

    Please justify to the rest of the state why SLC downtown should have free bus/TRAX service while the rest of the state has to pay for it. We all pay the same taxes and we all merit the same benefits of free service. What makes SLC so special? Because they own the UTA and force the rest of the state to subsidize free service for only the downtown area?

    Talk about criminal and defrauding the rest of the state and cities who are also paying the taxes to fund this public transportaion.

    Why isn't AG Mark Shurtleff doing his job to stop this corruption?